The Last Zweihänder

At least until next time. Our final session of Zweihänder, and Eva’s last journal entry for a while. Last session we had blown up a warehouse and discovered that more of the baron’s aids had been murdered. We have been playing the barons against each other for a while now, but our luck was bound to run out sooner or later. In our last session of this section of our Zweihänder game we are given a choice about who to serve.

This morning a messenger arrived at the inn with a fine quality letter edged in gold with a big wax seal and a ribbon around it. The boy gave it to Calthar, but she didn’t want to open it, so I took it to take a look at the quality calligraphy.

Opening it up, it was from Baron Ottowild, inviting the three of us to an evening of entertainment at the castle tonight. Formal address was expected, and things were to start around 7pm.

So Calthar and Djarin went off to spend more money on fancy weapons they could take to a formal occasion, and I finished up my report for the inquisitor, taking it down to him later than morning before he left the city.

Afterwards I decided to go to the cathedral, and Calthar tagged along to do some praying. Talking to the clergy there to find out what has happened to the new Bishop. Apparently it is now accepted that he’s probably dead, the rumours being that he died at the White Orchid fire trying to save everyone. The person currently in charge is Father Simonds until they get around to finding a new bishop.

Father Simonds wasn’t quite with it, and obviously wasn’t up to the task of running a cathedral. Sometimes putting the eldest in charge isn’t always the most sensible option. I asked him whether the cathedral had a library and whether I could take a look, and he pointed me in the direction.

The doors were unlocked so I wandered around, finding my way to the old bishop’s office instead of the library and taking a look at the books there. There were a number of ledgers, but they weren’t clearly organised and I found it impossible to make head nor tail of them.

The library proper was actually quite well stocked, with three shelves of books of high quality. Looking for some local historical books, I came across some which mentioned a grand lady of the north who had founded a number of the city’s institutions. She mostly worked in prostitution, but was described as a merchant princess. The mentions of her spanned a very long period of time, and it wasn’t clear whether it was the same person or members of the same family. All of them tended to be identified by a Z motif of some form. The family she was said to come from had a motto of Bound By Fate.

There was one note in the margin that the lady had once been enranged when her elixir had not been delivered. There had been mayhem, and many people had died. This was about 150 years ago.

I spent a few hours there over the course of the afternoon, then headed back here to the inn to write this up and prepare for the event this evening.

Well, that evening was unexpected. Or maybe not. We had arrived at the castle around 7 o’clock and shown our invitation to the guards. I asked the guard if I could keep it, since it was such nice calligraphy, and he gave it back to me and let us in. There were a lot of heavily armoured guards around, but not many other people.

When we entered the grate hall, we were the only ways there apart from a few servants and more guards. Seven tables were laid out in a circle, with one setup just for us. We were offered drinks, and then just after seven the nobles came in and we are asked to sit.

I think we were all suspicious at that point, but it didn’t look like an execution. Baron Schenfeld made a toast to Baron Ottowild, and then several courses of food came in. It was pretty good, and the nobles seemed pretty convivial towards each other.

At one point some bards came in and started singing local folk songs, which immediately got me worried. When the songs started to be about our own adventures my concerns were realised. Eventually they mentioned us by name, and it became pretty obvious that they were aware of what we had been up to.

By this point Baron Ottowild was somewhat tipsy, and got up to make a speech, toasting to a future of hope, order and stability. More guards came into the room and the doors were quite obviously shut when he accused us of being naughty. He said that we had to “sing for our supper”, and we were each given a challenge, with a reward if we won.

Calthar had to duel to first blood against the king’s champion. She mad a fancy show of it, then disarmed and bloodied him.

Next up was me, who had to match wits with Jarl Skardesson. I tried to win them over with some jokes, then managed to gain control of our debate and eventually defeated him with logic.

Finally, Djarin was told to have a target contest with the king’s best sharpshooter. A target was setup, and his opponent almost hit the centre of the target. Moving to the side, Djarin shot a bolt through his opponent’s bolt, and directly into the centre of the target.

By now the nobles are very drunk, and Baron Ottowild declared the occasion closed. Before they leave though, we are told to wait because someone wanted to talk to us.

We were directed into a side room, where a woman veiled in black sat on the Baron’s chair. There were curtains down the sides of the room, and I got the distinct impression that people hid behind them. Three seats were set before her, so I went and sat in the middle seat and Djarin and Calthar joined us.

She pulls back her veil, and it is the face from the paintings. She had been wanting to meet us for a while, and had “enjoyed” watching us work even though we had caused her some trouble. Not enough to have stopped her plans, but we’d demonstrated some level of competence so she was willing to give us a choice – join her or leave this place and never come back. Apparently threatening us with death was too tacky.

My main concern was what her plans were for the Order of Redemption. They had been useful to her, but she was willing to discuss that. If the Order could be dismantled, and something close to the true worship of the God Emperor put in its place, then maybe I’d be willing to consider the offer.

From Calthar she was looking for a leader of her troops maybe, and from Djarin an assassin. In the short term though, she was looking to re-unite the sceptre, crown and orb. The Crown was in Sanhasia, and the Orb was in Nidomis. She would have us travel to those places and retrieve those items for her. She had sent Sir Kelvis to look for them, but she can no longer trust him to bring them to her.

Reason? When used by three mortals the items could be used to re-open the gateway back to the world from where we originally came. Apparently it was Fated that this would happen. I’m not certain that this would be a good thing, but I really lack the information at the moment to make such a decision. How far her other aims stray from what I would find acceptable I also don’t know.

We are given the night to decide, and have headed back to the inn for a quieter discussion, though I fear no discussion can be had here without the walls hearing.

Both Calthar and Djarin seem amenable at least to leaving this place, and whether we do it after having agreed to find the Orb and Crown or not seems immaterial. For myself, I would wish to seek out knowledge in the great libraries of Sanhasia about both her, and the three artefacts which she is interested in. That might give us enough information to actually make a final decision.

Whatever our decision, we will need to be leaving Sielzen in the morning.

Until next time.

Samuel Penn

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